Walk-in freezers are used to preserve substantial amounts of perishable foods, from meat to ice cream. Although that ’90s Corrie episode was great, walk-in freezers really are a dangerous environment for employees. Here’s a round-up of fails relating to cold storage.
Latches and knobs
You would think the biggest failure of walk-in freezers is if they were not to freezing properly. But actually, they have a tendency to work a little too well, moisture freezing around the handle preventing the door from opening. Yikes. In March two burglars were mighty pleased to see the police, having got themselves locked in the walk-in freezer of a Brighton Chinese restaurant:
Having been alerted to intruders, police only found the men on a second, more thorough inspection. The two crooks could very well have paid with their lives instead of just fines. Even if they’d huddled together to keep warm, in such a confined, tightly sealed box they were breathing in oxygen but releasing carbon dioxide. Typically, there is enough oxygen to last a person around eight hours, so only in the most severe of circumstances is this a threat. It is important, however, to keep in mind should the unthinkable occur. Though it’s required to test door latches and knobs at least weekly, it’s good practice to do it daily. If there is a fault it’s essential that repair is scheduled immediately; you business could face charges if you are found in breach of health and safety standards.
It may seem obvious but one of the more common fails in refrigeration is running out of juice. Power failure can also cause other components of a freezer to fail, resetting timers or causing produce to thaw.
Thermostats are a common culprit in freezer malfunction. They are responsible for controlling the temperature inside your freezer and, if faulty, could make your freezer too warm. This can be easily combated by lowering the temperature on the thermostat, but keep in mind that if allowed to thaw then freeze, your freezer may be at risk of ice build up. If this build-up isn’t scraped away immediately, slips and falls become a potential risk. It goes without saying that proper non-slip footwear should be compulsory in line with uniform policy, and if the build-up persists, signs should alert employees until professional maintenance is arranged. Also be vigilant of spilled liquids and incorrectly stacked stock to avoid slips, trips and falls.
There are many components which can fail on a refrigerator so it is important to regularly assess and maintain the efficiency of your systems to assure food and employee safety.